Gone But Not Forgotten

Hello, you've landed on DATA eh? - Open Data Toronto's original blog space for data discussions. This is not an active blog at the moment but legacy posts are still here. Have a read ... you can still provide comments.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Wasting Time Or Just Being Cool Or A Bit Of Both

By Keith McDonald
If you haven't heard yet, you can enter the words: "Do a barrel roll" into the Google search engine and your screen will do just that - a barrel roll! Wow, wo-hoo, OMG - we are spinning!  The whole deal is a sort of a homage to the video game Starfox 64 and you can read more about it here.

But, really, twitter, Facebook and the other usual culprit social media sites are all a buzz about this right now. So, we ask, is it wasting time? Is it just being cool? Is it a bit of both?

At first glance, perhaps, you might think it's a time waster but not so fast. Creativity sparks productivity - at least in my view. The code behind the spin is used in gaming and, often, gaming is one way to explore alternatives.

More please ...
In fact, I'd go as far as to say we could use more explorations of possibilities and alternatives. That's where Open Data can also come into the picture. Quite often we use only one set of interpretations to make decisions. Often, the data isn't connected with anything else to make a wider picture - a clearer picture of what may, or may not, be going on.

flowers blooming with DATA eh? in writing above

See The Forest And The Trees
You've heard the statement: "Can't see the forest for the trees" right? One of the things that's being clearly articulated by users of Open Data is how it enables connections - consider it optioning a tight "tree" view as well as a full "forest" view. And it all happens when you can connect the dots using raw data sets.

Once you are in a digital domain, you can do anything and that's where imagination can really go to town. Speaking about forests and trees, I'm reminded of a posting to the earlier version of this blog (when this space was all about the toronto.ca web re:Brand).  It relates to what I'm talking about here - read about (mid way down in the post) what the team called: Tree-1-1.

Never Underestimate The Value Of Play
So, what I like about this little Google barel roll thing is how it is a metaphor for turning things around - or over - or flipping ... the view!

A simple reminder for us all that looking at something in a different way can trigger great things. I can think of a few examples: The guy who created velcro basically came up with it from having burrs stick on his clothes, teflon came about entirely by accident in trying to make a refrigerant.

Can you suggest any other examples where topsy-turvy thinking has done something great? How about on the Open Data front? 

UPDATE NOTE: Just read (December 17th) the top search word for November was, in fact, Barrell Roll - source Goggle Canada

Data eh? #6

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